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Hair falls for the St. Baldrick's cause

  • Published
  • By Rhonda Bletner, Editor
  • Richland Source
Razors had to be traded out and many shades of hair fell to the floor at Legend's Sports & Grill Club in Shelby Friday night as participants took the stage to have their heads shaved. It was the sixth year Legend's hosted the head-shaving event for the local St. Baldick's Foundation event.

The evening started with Brian McKee and Joshua Atwell as the first to get their heads shaved. McKee was participating for his third year and Atwell for his first time.

When event host Ed Gatchall asked McKee why he was participating, McKee responded, "I taught at Shelby a few years ago and thought it would be a neat event to support. I'm still teaching, just not at Shelby and I thought I'd get my students in on it too. They helped support me today."

Joshua Atwell, a third grader at Eastview Elementary in the Madison school district, got his head shaved in support of Grant Reed of Bellville. His father, Phil Atwell, is a Mansfield firefighter and works with Grant's father Troy Reed.

Josh allowed his head to be shaved in Grant's honor and raised over $600 for pediatric cancer research.

Grant was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011 and become known for nicknaming his cancer "Michigan" and adopting the slogan "Beat Michigan."

"My dad cuts my hair," said Atwell, "but I never had my head shaved. It was my idea," said Joshua, admitting that he was a little nervous.

Grant "beat Michigan" once. In December 2014 His family learned that he has a new malignant tumor and he is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He continues to have a good attitude and is supported not only by his family but by over 1,400 members on the Supporting Grant! Facebook page.

McKee wasn't the only returning participant Friday night. Marc Pumala and his son Ayden, 9, also had their heads shaved--for the seventh time.

"I did it some years ago and he (Ayden) wanted to do it. He's done it seven years with me. It was very touching. It reminded me how blessed we are to be raising children that are healthy; he's healthy," said Pumala, indicating Ayden. "The first year we did it reminded me how blessed we are.

"It's become a tradition for us. Having him with me is a great reminder of how blessed we are and every year he asks and gets excited for it and I get excited. And if we can help raise money for some of those who aren't, then we're going to do it."

Marc and Ayden Pumala also received special honors Friday night when event organizer Judy Caporini dubbed them Knights of the Bald Table. "They earned this honor," said Caporini, "by having their heads shaved for the past seven years."

Marc Pumala is a chief master sergeant with Security Forces at the 179th Airlift Wing